TWO ITALIAN CAKES (ITALY)
Pandoro and Panettone are the two symbols of Christmas in Italy. You can find these
cakes at almost every table, Christmas here just wouldn't be the same without them.
Pandoroís origins can be traced to the town of Verona, Northern Italy, and
the name comes from the word "pan de oro" that means, "bread of gold" , which was
given for its gold colour due to the eggs, that are one of the basic ingredients
together with butter, sugar and yeast. Tall, distinctive and shaped like a Christmas
tree, it is topped with powdered sugar reminiscent of snow, or a twinkling star.
Its origins goes back to the 18th century, and it likely comes from a combination of
a local Christmas cake called Nadalin, and a raised cake from Vienna.
The levitation process reminds that of pastries from Vienna and the form is taken
from the Nadalin, the shape of a star. The birth of the Pandoro as we know it came
after the unification of Italy at the end of the 19th century.
In its early days Pandoro was mostly prepared at home which resulted in a shorter cake.
Now, with the industrial production the cake is taller than the home-made one but
the quality is the same, because the industrial cake is prepared just as the home-made
Making Pandoro is an art in itself, and thatís why it would be difficult to make
Pandoro at home and get the same results, mostly because the process from start to
finish takes up to 50-60 hours!
Pandoro is served in many ways. Many prefer the classical way, simple, with just a
sprinkle of vanilla flavoured powder sugar that comes with the cake in the box, itís
so good and so soft that thereís no need to add anything else, but itís even better
if you warm up the slices before eating them.
Another way to slice Pandoro is to cut it horizontally in approximately 1.5 inch thick
slices. Turn the pieces slightly to offset the points and the Pandoro will resemble
a Christmas tree.
It's up to you to decorate it. Then you simply serve one star to each of your guests.
However, if you really want to go all out you can serve it with Zabaione or
Mascarpone cream. Itís great, when you eat it you feel like you are in heaven.
Itís really difficult to describe, youíll just have to try it!
Mascarpone Cream for Pandoro
3 1/2 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 separate the whites from the yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Rum
1. In a bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar together with a hand blender.
2. Add the mascarpone and combine well using a wooden spoon. Then add the rum and
3. In another bowl whip the egg whites until they start to foam.
4. Add the egg whites to the mascarpone, a bit at a time, folding them in
gently with a spoon, making movements from the bottom to the top.
5. Chill for one hour or until cold. Serve in on slices of Pandoro.
Panettone is a soft and sweet bread with a light-yellow to golden colour, a
It has its origins in Milan, and its birth is dated back to the 15th century when,
delicate flavor and a buttery, flowery and fruity aroma.
according to the tradition , illustrious guests were gathered in Milan, invited by
Ludovico il Moro, Lord of the town, to take part to one of the richest banquet
ever seen in years.
The lunch began and waiters and cooks bustled around the tables carrying wines, meat
and delicious pies. In the kitchen, however, the head cook was living a nightmare:
the cake he had so lovingly baked and decorated with creams and flowers was
irremediably collapsing on the huge silver tray. Toni, a kitchen helper, didn't
loose heart and, rolling up his sleeves quickly mixed flour, yeast, butter, sugar, spices
and candied fruit. A moment before placing the dough in the oven, he saw a vase of
raisins in the corner, and added some to the cake.
As the guests were enjoying the banquet in the dining room, the cakes baked by Toni
were leavening and getting a beautiful golden colour in the oven. A sweet, delicious
smell started spreading in the kitchen, drawing the head cook's attention. He called
Toni and after listening to him, he decided to serve the guests that strange cake.
The worried head cook stayed in the kitchen and spied into the room hiding behind
young Toni. The guests, after a long, seemingly endless moment of silence, began to
enthusiastically praise the new and strange cake. Ludovico il Moro asked the creator,
whoever he was, to come into the room. As the young servant found himself in the
middle of the dining room a loud, spontaneous applause greeted him. "What is your
name?" - asked Ludovico il Moro. "My name's Toni" answered the confused servant.
At that time one of the guests shouted: "Evviva il pan de Toni!" (ďGod bless the bread
of Toni!Ē). And right there the name, "Panettone" was born, and it has accompanied
that cake all around the world ever since.
Panettone, like Pandoro, is so good you can eat it straight from the box,
however if you want to really impress your guests try serving it with this recipe.
Grated zest from two untreated oranges
8 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
4 Tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1. In a small pan mix the orange zest, orange juice and sugar over a low heat.
2. Mix constantly until the sugar melts in.
3. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes.
4. While the orange sauce is cooling put the heavy cream in a bowl and mix with
a hand mixer.
5. Continue mixing until fluffy.
6. Add a bit of the orange sauce to the cream and fold it in with a spoon.
Continue like this until all the orange sauce is mixed into the cream.
Cut the Panettone from top to bottom making wedges. Lay the pieces of cake on their
sides and add some cream. Serve immediately or refrigerate the Orange cream until you
are ready to serve.
This cream is enough for 4 to 6 servings.
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